After leaving SHARE events, you may feel inspired and ready to tackle everything on your plate upon your return to the office. The confidence and inspiration you feel is contagious among your fellow attendees, but soon reality hits — you’re back to work and feeling deflated. Motivational speakers like Robyn Benincasa at SHARE Pittsburgh can inspire technology professionals to strive for more.
Companies and organizations often hire motivational speakers to foster teamwork, improve confidence, and boost productivity. But the wrong message from a motivational speaker will fall flat. Messages need to be tailored and relatable to the audience, demonstrating not only how the speaker overcame challenges, but also how audiences can apply the lessons learned by the speaker and overcome their own workplace challenges.
But how can workers take these motivational speeches and translate them into action at work, particularly if the bulk of their job comprises tasks that are routine yet mission critical?
Benincasa’s opening keynote, “Why Winners Win,” outlined the common attributes of people who succeed even when facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, and she shared a round of incredible stories and video footage of extreme performers in action. Jessica Muszynski, web engineer at Aetna and SHARE Pittsburgh attendee, says of Benincasa’s keynote, “Since I work in a male-dominated field, I sometimes struggle to communicate effectively with my male colleagues, because our styles are very different.” She adds, “Benincasa shared her equal-but-very-different experience working in a male-dominated field, and I felt like I was able to connect with her.”
Muszynski also found Carey Lohrenz’s keynote, at SHARE Sacramento, about the challenges of daily work-life balance helpful. She said, “After listening to both Carey and Robyn, my communications were not lacking, just different. I’ve been able to figure out ways to work with my team in a more professional manner to achieve the goals that we set.”
Keep Workers Motivated
Managers and workers themselves need to foster motivation, especially when employees perform repetitive tasks, which often lend themselves to boredom and siphon away drive and performance. Each manager and employee should approach their job with a specific motivation in mind. Muszynski says, “What keeps me motivated at my job is that I know the systems that I provide are to help customers.” For instance, when Aetna’s applications are having issues, it can prevent a patient from finding a doctor, or hamper the ability of a nurse to submit paperwork for a patient who needs help.
“To keep myself focused on simple tasks,” says Muszynski, “I keep in mind that the application development teams are waiting for my work to be completed, and the more productive I am, the more productive they can be with their testing.” She adds, “I sometimes find myself with multiple app requests to do the same task, and I’ll bundle them to complete multiple application needs within a day or two (depending on the types of requests).”
Muszynski says Aetna is constantly reviewing new technologies and tools to help her and other employees do their jobs better, which she says keeps her job exciting. She views these new tools and technologies as opportunities to learn and grow. “They’re also fun problem-solving challenges that help break up the repetitive tasks that are also part of my job,” she adds.
Muszynski advises others in the mainframe technology field to “have candid discussions with your manager about growth and development, not only for yourself, but for the whole team.” When she started at Aetna, she needed to be taught the job from scratch, which was a challenge. After candid discussions, the team figured out a schedule and a process that worked for each member of the team, which made it easier to contribute and learn. “In a short couple of years, I was a regular functioning team member and was able to get through on my own without needing to be shown the whole process,” she says.
Muszynski emphasizes the importance of communication with senior managers and sharing your ideas and input regularly. “When I started, I developed a new way to track inventory of our CICS regions to make our on-call shifts easier to navigate through issues,” she explains. “The old way was fine, but it took a new perspective to take it a step further to make it even better for the team.”
While motivational speakers may have larger-than-life lessons at conferences, Muszynski recommends “keeping with business as usual standards.” But, she adds, “you should take the time to learn from online resources. You may learn something that makes your day-to-day easier in the long run.”